For hundreds of years we have been exploiting fossil fuels and using them as our primary energy source, but in today’s world using gas, oil, and coal for our energy needs has become a problem. Namely, the combustion of fossil fuels has caused one of the greatest environmental challenges that we have ever faced – global warming. By burning fossil fuels, farming livestock, and cutting down rainforests, we are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth’s temperature. When we burn fossil fuels like coal, and gas to create electricity, we release CO2 pollution into the atmosphere, adding enormous amounts of greenhouse gases to those naturally existing there, ultimately causing the greenhouse effect and global warming.
Another problem with burning fossil fuels to produce energy is that these conventional energy sources are in limited supply. Fossil fuels are a finite resource, and it’s only a matter of time until they are completely depleted, especially at the rate we are currently using them. The demand for fossil fuels keeps rising, but so does the cost of using them, and we find ourself with larger and larger energy bills.
What is the answer to most, if not all of these problems? Renewable energy. It’s true that renewable energy sources can’t solve our climate change problems, but anyone arguing that switching to renewable energy sources is pointless because it can’t solve the problem alone is missing the big picture. Renewable energy is an important part of the climate change solution and we must act as quickly as possible if we want to have any chances in preserving our planet stopping catastrophic climate change.
Energy such as wind energy, water power, and solar energy is generated from natural energy sources, and unlike fossil fuels, these energy sources are inexhaustible. Using renewable energy helps to protect our planet by drastically reducing the number of carbon emissions that we produce. Aside from the environmental benefits, using renewable energy sources will help us reduce the rising costs of energy bills and improve our energy security.
Although at this point envisioning a world that runs on clean energy seems like a science-fiction, just consider that it has already been predicted that by 2023, clean sources will cover approximately 30% of global electricity demand.
The Renewable Energy Transition
China is the world leader in renewable energy production and installed green energy capacity. Its total capacity of 618.8 GW is more than the combined capacity of the next four countries on that list – US (229.91), Brazil (128.29 GW), Germany (113.06 GW), and India (106.28 GW). The remaining countries on the top 10 list are Canada, Japan, Italy, Spain, and France. China has clearly prioritized renewable energy production, and the other countries should take an example from them.
Denmark has also made a noteworthy effort in switching on to renewable energy sources. Namely, 68% of Denmark’s electricity is generated from renewable sources, making the Scandinavian country in terms of the percentage of the electricity produced by renewables. As for the leading EU economies, the figures for renewable energy percentage by country are 30% in Germany, 28 in the UK, 25% in Spain, and 23% in Italy.
These areas in the world represent a vision for the future, showing that switching to renewable energy sources requires no breakthrough intervention, but that it does take a lot of effort and time, depending on the variety of priority the society has and the base level a country is starting with.